Nothing but the truth - Yes panel addresses campaign distortions

14 May 2015

Yes Equality Press Release
For immediate release, Thursday 14 May 2015

At a press conference in its Dublin HQ today (Thursday 14 May 2015), Yes Equality: The Campaign for Civil Marriage Equality comprehensively addressed the distortions which have featured in recent debates on the referendum with the launch of Nothing but the Truth – a series of online factsheets on the referendum.

Speakers at the press conference included Fergus Finlay, Maureen Gaffney and Peter Ward.

Speaking at the outset of the conference, Fergus Finlay said:

“We have witnessed with increasing disappointment the manner in which opponents of the Marriage Equality referendum have sought to distract from the truth of the proposition being put before the Irish public on May 22 that: ‘Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex’”

Addressing concerns raised about parenting and children, Mr Finlay added:

“If there was one piece of research that showed that granting civil marriage equality to gay and lesbian citizens was bad for children, Barnardos would not support the referendum. All of the research over 50 years shows that it is the quality of the parenting, not the sexual orientation or gender of the parents, which is of fundamental importance.”

Maureen Gaffney, who said she decided to intervene in the campaign on foot of how the debate has been framed, said:

“The pursuit of the so-called ‘gold standard’ in family life has led to cruelty and abuse, and has not served the interests of children and family. We do not wish to return to a less tolerant Ireland where people were excluded.”

Reiterating her support for a Yes vote, Ms Gaffney spoke of her love of Ireland and how it has progressed in recent years:

“I love Ireland, I am proud to be Irish. I am proud to stand by the republic.”

Senior Counsel Peter Ward said:

“The legal issues around surrogacy and adoption have been clarified by the Referendum Commission and the Adoption Authority of Ireland, clearing a legal path to debate the central issue – that of equality.”

He added

“The referendum is a unique opportunity for the Irish people to embrace equality and to end years of discrimination. Our gay and lesbian brothers and sister have suffered isolation and injustice. On May 22nd Ireland has an opportunity to say ‘this ends here’.”


For more information, or to arrange interviews with the above speakers, contact:

Walter Jayawardene, Yes Equality Communications Coordinator 087 9981574


Today’s press conference took place at 12.30pm, Thursday 14 May 2015 in the Headquarters of Yes Equality, Clarendon House, 34 Clarendon Street, Dublin 2.

A précis of the top five distortions addressed at the press conference today:

1. “Civil Partnership is enough”. Civil partnership is a separate and unequal institution. It enjoys no constitutional protection and could at any point be repealed by the Oireachtas. This point has been made clear by the independent Referendum Commission. Only civil marriage provides full constitutional equality.
2. “A Yes would undermine marriage”. Marriage equality seeks to open marriage up to same sex couples who value what marriage represents. Marriage matters. Irish Couples get married because they love each other and want their relationships recognised and protected by the state. Same-sex couples want to get married for the very same reasons.
3. “This referendum will give gay couples the right to surrogacy and adoption”. It will do neither, and the No side know this. Mr Geoffrey Shannon, chair of the Adoption Authority of Ireland, and someone who is known for his independence, has made it crystal clear that adoption procedures will remain the same regardless of the referendum’s outcome. Mr Justice Kevin Cross of the independent referendum commission has confirmed that “there is no right of access to surrogacy”. Surrogacy is largely a matter for heterosexual couples, and needs regulation. This will remain the case regardless of the referendum result.
4. “This referendum is about Children”. Yes, it is. This referendum is important for families and children across Ireland today. Children deserve equal status and protection regardless of who is bringing them up. Every child deserves love, respect and safety. A no vote would deny the children of same-sex couples constitutional protections. A yes vote will send a clear message to all children that they are equally valued regardless of their sexual orientation. This is why Ireland’s leading children’s charities, including Barnardos and the ISPCC, have made it clear that a Yes vote will never damage the best interests of children.
5. “A yes vote will undermine religious freedoms”. It will not. This referendum is about civil marriage only and has no bearing on the practice of any church or religious community. Religious freedoms are robustly protected in the Constitution. A yes vote will and does not seek to change this.

Read the above material in further detail at

Speakers at the press conference included:
• Mr Fergus Finlay
• Ms Maureen Gaffney
• Mr Peter Ward

Photographs from the press conference will be filed to picture desks by Fergal Phillips. Contact: 0862602924

Clips from the press conference:

Mr Fergus Finlay:

Ms Maureen Gaffney:

Mr Peter Ward: